February 21, 2024

Hello Jesse,

I am fascinated with all the stories of Jesus eating and sharing a meal at the dinner table. Whether feeding the five thousand or hauling in a near net-breaking number of fish, things are always startling. And Jesus gets a bit of reputation of who he eats with. There are some unsavory characters like tax collectors and sinners (Luke 5:29ff). Jesus was willing to dine with all types of people regardless of their reputation, occupation, or social status. Even on the shore of Galilee, Jesus becomes the chef for his disciples after his resurrection, sharing bread and fish. And in all four Gospel accounts, Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper during the Last Supper with his disciples, sharing bread and wine.

There's an implied sense of acceptance and peace in the act of sharing a meal. The very act of coming together around the table combats social isolation which is so prevalent post-COVID.

So it is with MDS at our project locations. Meals are important. The cooks rise early in the morning and make a hearty meal for the volunteers before they are dispatched in crews to work. I have noticed that, as the days go by in the week, the weekly volunteer groups who came as strangers intermingle and get to know each other personally. Myths and stereotypes are dismantled. After the meal there may be a devotional reading and singing of a song or hymn.  During the evening meal, community members may be invited in to share their story of when the disaster hit. Again, laughter and serious dialogue might be heard over the din of dishware. It is here I see and hear Jesus dining at the table.  

And I am grateful. I pray that Jesus will always be invited at the MDS table. Like the African-American folk song by an anonymous author, “I wanna sit at the welcome table. Why? God's children gonna sit together one of these days.”


Executive Director

Mennonite Disaster Service in U.S.

Join us online via live-stream

Friday night, February 23 at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Saturday morning, February 24 at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time

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At the Texas border, God takes over

Carl Dube needed a moment to soothe his soul. The Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) project director, who has dedicated years of his life to helping people in the Rio Grande Valley, was in a bit of a bind, along with his group of MDS volunteers in Cameron County, the southernmost county in Texas.

“Cameron County was hit by a tornado in May,” explained Dube. “We are here to build some new houses and repair others.”

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MDS volunteers "light of Canada"

If she was Prime Minister, Pushpa Rathor would give Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers the Order of Canada—how the country honours those who make extraordinary contributions to the nation.

“You are the light of Canada,” the disabled senior told volunteers in Cape Breton in late August. “You take away the darkness.”

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MDS has volunteer opportunities for you!

See the full list of volunteer opportunities when you click here.

  Contact volunteer@mds.org or 

call 1-800-241-8111 with any questions or to schedule a week. 

Click here to volunteer

MDS Office in U.S.

583 Airport Road,

Lititz, PA 17543 USA

T: (717) 735-3536

T (toll free): 1-800-241-8111

F: (717) 735-0809


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MDS Canada Office
200-600 Shaftesbury Blvd
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3P 2J1

T: (204) 261-1274
F: (204) 261-1279